Eleanor Bishop’s day started with such promise. They caught a compelling case and had quite a few leads. Everything was fine until Gibbs went upstairs to talk to Vance.
Gibbs descended the stairs quickly and came to the middle of the bullpen.
“Attention, everyone! Director Vance just got a call from Special Agent Dwayne Pride, in the New Orleans office. We lost Christopher LaSalle today. Let’s take a moment of silence to remember our fallen partner. “ Gibbs shouted across the bull pin, and the entire bullpen became silent. Ellie felt tears prick her eyes. After what seemed like entirely. Gibbs started again. “If you need to talk to someone, a grief counselor and Jack will be available to talk to them. Arrangements will be at the end of the week. If you want to take leave, file it with Vance. Agent Pride would love to have just a heads up. Go home from the day. Kiss your loved ones, and remember that this job always has a price.”
The office bustled with people packing up their things, and a somber air descended over the office. Ellie felt like she was in shock. Feeling lost again, the same lost she felt when Jake cheated when Qasim died. When Clay died. And when Abby left before Ziva came back. Poor Christopher. She was scheduled to see him at the next Cowboys and Crimson Tide game. More tears cascaded down her cheeks. And Suddenly Ellie was aware of where she was. Ellie got up and ran to the elevator and hit the basement button.
Ellie found a dark corner and sat on the ground. And then she curled herself into a ball as more tears fell down her cheeks. Ellie missed her football buddy. The man who she considered a brother, who she called when Jake divorced her and was like another older brother.
Ellie didn’t know how long she was in the basement when Nick found her. He sized up the situation and approached carefully.
“Ellie??” Nick asked amid the sniffling. He sat down next to the female agent who was in a ball. He reached over to grab her hand. “What’s wrong?”
“LaSalle died. My friend died. And I am sad. He was my football buddy. And I feel lost.” Ellie whispered into the empty room, and fresh tears sprung to her eyes as just uttering those words made it real.
Nick pulled her close. “ I’m sorry for your loss. I only met LaSalle once, and he was an awesome agent. It’s okay to be sad. But You are not lost. I’ve got you.”
“I need to talk to Vance about taking some leave. Nick, will you come with me to the funeral.” Ellie asked from his shoulder.
“Of course B. You know I always have your back,” Nick kissed the top of her head.
Ellie sat quietly and let a few more tears fall and clung to his arm.
Gibbs, Ellie, and Nick caught red-eye down to New Orleans. Nick and Ellie sat next to each other, and halfway through the flight, Ellie fell asleep on Nick’s shoulder. Gibb, who was sitting on the aisle seat, just smirked at the couple and when they landed in New Orleans. Pride picked them up and took them to the HQ.
The next few days flew past, and Now they were sitting at LaSalle’s funeral. Nick held Ellie’s hand and even walked with her when she put a Crimson Tide hat on the coffin. As the service ended and the mourners moved on. Ellie waited until she could say goodbye in private.
“Chris, I hope you have peace,” Ellie said quietly and then moved away from the gravestone.
Nick looked at the headstone and said, “Don’t worry, friend. I’ll take care of her”
Ellie waited as Nick finished up his goodbyes and held out her hand to him. Nick grabbed her hand and pulled her close. Ellie silently walked back to the car, thankful she had someone in her life to keep her from being lost.